Worst Habit?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BrianT, Sep 14, 2007.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Music Teachers - what are the commonest bad playing habits that you see? Just interested, as it's far easier to nip things in the bud and do things correctly from the outset rather than have to unlearn stuff and then do it correctly. (I had to change my embouchure back in my teens - I'd been playing into the top of the mouthpiece rather than the middle - took me ages to fix that). And if we have a bad habit ourselves do we have a blindspot to that fault in others? Or does it make us 'specially critical? And are there some bad habits we should really just overlook as it's just too much grief to fix them?
  2. Di

    Di Active Member

    I'm going to be a wicked mummy now and dob her in! :D

    Vicki was always, always getting told "fingers, I'm going to glue those tips to the valves!" She still has moments with the mid-fingers are on the valves instead of the tips, but more interesting to watch is the little finger! The higher she plays, the higher the little finger rises. :rolleyes:
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I've never understood that one. I've always found that using fingertips rather than mid-fingers on valves actually slows down the speed at which I can move. And judging by Andy Fawbert's finger technique on the Last Night of the Proms, I'm not the only person who thinks so!

    But still, some teachers seem to have a massive bee in their bonnets about this non-issue...
  4. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    I am, thankfully, not doing much kiddie teaching any more, but the worst thing I found was kids breathing through their nose. My own pupils never did it, but there were so many kids I inherited from other teachers who did.

    There was one secondary school I taught at where I could tell which Primary School the kids had come from by the bad habits their previous teachers had let them get away with. We even had a big meeting of all the brass staff to discuss ways of teaching the trombone to non-trombonists, but it fell on deaf ears and I still had kids coming up who didn't even know how to hold the thing properly. Unfortunately, it then made me look like the bad guy when the pupil hadn't made any progress because I'd been spending a term sorting out the rubbish other teachers had created.

    Gladly, I'm out of it now, otherwise I might have done something I might have regretted!
  5. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I can't speak for lower brass but certainly on a cornet it's important. If you are using fingertips the movement at the base of the finger is less than if you have, say, your first knuckle on the valve cap. So you can have more control and speed of movement if you are using your fingertips on the valve; something I got drummed into me fairly early!
  6. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    It may be less movement, but do you not find that the movement is more restricted? If I play with my fingertips on the valves, my hand feels more tense than if the valve is further down my finger. I think that is a definite advantage of rotary valves over pistons actually - it's a much freer movement.

    I suppose there is more chance that the valve will not be pressed down straight if you don't have your fingertips on the valves - I can see that would be a problem.
  7. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    That's exactly my objection to it, Dave. It looks like it ought to save effort, but doesn't when you look at it more closely.

    Dave (certified YotD last movement euphonium part compatible)
  8. mell c

    mell c Member

    I occasionally cross my legs. A bad habit i know, as it restricts my diaphram.
  9. x..Emma..x

    x..Emma..x Member

    Im not a teacher but my worst habits would be slurring notes and sitting cross legged on my chair :p
  10. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Maybe it's just what you're used to. I find the opposite, oddly - if I don't play using my fingertips I end up tensing up because my fingers are having to travel further and do more work. Plus I get jammed valves, because I'm not pushing them down straight. Maybe different makes of instrument behave differently?
  11. madrich

    madrich Member

    What habits you see depend quite a lot on the stage of development of the pupil. The early people (gr 1-3ish) tend to do things like breath through their nose, tap their foot and that kind of thing. Later on (gr 4-6) it tends to be the more technique related things like playing with knuckles (here I side with the fingertips guys). The most common I've seen from pupils who've come to me at this kind of level is pivoting the mouthpiece when playing large intervals. Some people advocate it, but to me its an unnecessary movement that just slows you down.
  12. alix

    alix New Member

    its all down to individuals.

    you have to advise when starting off that fingertips rather than knuckles :) are best..but depends on shape n size

    the trumpets etc that we are asked to teach beginners on are often temperamental and this fingertip (as if holding a tennis ball or can of juice idea) while playing does save the oiling of a seemigly sticky valve so often...pushed from above it doesnt stick so often...i wont name makes..but...unfair to ask 9 or 10 year olds to be so conscious of this when they are only trying to play C-G and such like

    good habit to get into if you can tho
  13. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    Surely this is a matter of simple physics?
    In operating the valves the fingers are being used as levers. Where do you get the most leverage from and thereby the most power and speed in the case of a valve? The end of the lever, ie. the finger pads (not tips!).
    I would suggest that any problems with tension in the hand are a seperate issue.
  14. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    should I be so bold as to add Trombone bad habits? :biggrin:

    Holding the bell when playing in 3rd, 4th or even 5th positions


    I've seen kids playing trombone with their heads leaning to the left hand side onto the actual instrument. And playing as though their arms have been strapped to their bodies. And holding the slide with the side of their wrist facing them as opposed to their palms facing them. All these bad habits were stopped straight away by my tutor, Norman Dyson.

    With valved players, my pet hate is seeing flat finger on valves or not playing with the fingertips. And again, playing as though their arms have been strapped to their torso - how can they breath!!??
  16. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I forgot about that!
    I used to play with my head to the left. Another trombone thing that really annoys me is over-use of the trigger.
    I know some Bone players who use the trigger so much that they forget where 6th and 7th are!
  17. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    I tap my feet. Can't help it. Always have, always will! I know it looks terrible but I just dont realise I'm doing it!
  18. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    Yeah, well I'll give you a slap the next time you do it next to me Donna.

    Usually, poor breathing is the worst habit or noisily emptying their water, that really winds me up.
  19. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    You mean there are more than 5? I don't believe you!


    I had another habit pointed out to me on Friday night. Apparently I count so loudly that it puts off the baritones and horns sat in front of me. I thought I was so quiet as well...